Uncle Tupelo

The Long Cut: A One Hour Radio Special

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Though not commercially released, this one-hour radio special about Uncle Tupelo was pressed on CD by Legacy in 2003 and distributed to non-commercial radio stations for broadcast consideration, and also sent to some non-radio-affiliated members of the media. As such, it's guaranteed to attract some attention from collectors as the years go by. It combines snatches of music from their records with -- in the segments that are far more interesting to diehards -- then-recent interviews with Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Mike Heidorn. Hosted by Lauren Frey and produced at Joy Ride Media in New York, it also has comments from critic Anthony DeCurtis, and even a snippet from the president of the Greater Belleville, IL, Chamber of Commerce. In general terms, the group talks about growing up in Belleville, how they met and formed, how their style and songwriting developed, and how they worked in the studio, as well as what they think of the alt-country movement they helped spawn. There's also a specific reference as to exactly how the song "No Depression," which eventually came to name the entire movement, was discovered by the band. The reasons for their breakup are discussed, but in a vague manner, so that you get the sense that much is being left unsaid so as to not open any old wounds. It's all linked together by context-supplying narration, delivered in the kind of studied, almost stilted form common to much documentary programming on noncommercial radio. And, as this was designed for a general radio listenership rather than something like a fan club, what it doesn't have is much information that will come as new and surprising to the very sort of Uncle Tupelo fanatics most likely to track this down in the first place.